Friday, October 7, 2011


Dutch Boy and Dog
Cover Art by Carl J. Becker
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

One of the greatest phenomena of the 20th century--and globally sprawling into the 21st century--is eBay!

Yet one of the most remarkable characteristics of our American heritage and, more specifically, our capitalist system, is this notion of competition.

That said, it's time for the juggernaut auction site, eBay, to move over--just a bit--as the newbies pull up with their slightly different variations and less expensive fee-based programs to continually attract more and more sellers.  

What's my personal take on it?

Honestly, I will always be an eBayer.  While I was a hobbyist with this giant venue in the 1990's, my wife and I officially opened up the LORDS OF THE FLY eBay store on January 1, 2000.  It's an easy day for me to remember, and it's thus equally simple for me to quickly figure out that we are finishing up our twelfth year.  

So while it's Semper Fi for us when it comes to eBay, I'm definitely interested at this point in time--as alluded to in recent blog posts--in expanding our business.  Just this morning, before my better half left for work, we had a quick brainstorming session in which I laid out to her my business plan for the coming month.  She gave me the green light, and I was jazzed!  It involves a substantial increase in inventory from our primary fly tying supplier, and the capital investment stretches our budget.  The potential financial return, however, given our business sales trend that I've been tracking for the last couple of months, certainly justifies the risk.

The balance between my wife--Ms. Caution--and me--Mr. Impulsive--is a sweet marriage. 

It behooves me, then, to strategize how to stretch our market.  It will involve a few major moves such as:
  • Negotiating with our supplier to give us a huge discount if we make a HUGE purchase of materials
  • Tweaking our existing eBay ads and prices to optimize our sales and profit margins
  • Utilizing to a greater degree the marvelous free advertising that social media provides us (Congratulations, dear reader!  You're participating in that very thing just by reading this blog post!  Thank you so much!)
  • Making good use of the new kids on the eBay auction block!
A little bit of serendipity here...I just realize, after 29 years of marriage, that I'm turning into my wife. I mean, I'm almost at the end of my post, and I'm only now coming to the theme of it.  LOL!  At my expense...


The name itself is a brilliant marketing gem.  It is purposely misspelled, and it consequently implores the reader to take a second look.  That's more than enough to lure someone to visit the website.  And once you're there...well, I'll let you find out for yourself.

I love entrepreneurship.  In fact, I'm passionate about it.  Not the corporate level stuff.  The current protests on Wall Street remind us all about our inherent distaste for corporate gone bad.

No, it's the grass roots level of entrepreneurship that I love.  In subsequent posts, I am going to give you real life examples that we've experienced this past month that exemplify the basic joy of buying and selling at the common man's level.

Oh, alright.  I'll give you an example right now.  See that photo above?  Here's the story behind it.  

One of the things I silently pledged to myself a while ago is that I would never go to yard sales with my wife.  I don't know why...maybe it's because a small part of me hangs on to this macho notion that men don't do that sort of thing.  

Truth is, I think it's more about me being stupid.

Last week, you see, I went to several yard sales and one estate sale with my lovely wife.

And guess what?  I AM HOOKED!

My wife found three old magazines dated 1905, 1906, and 1908.  She picked it up for a dollar apiece.  

One of the magazines still had a cover on it...just barely.  Something about it intrigued me.  

For one thing, the windmills accentuate the picturesque tension between that which is common and that which is magnificent.  I'm looking at a scene that figuratively pulls at my deep desire for nostalgia.  And then I realize that the artist, Carl J. Becker, may himself have sensed the same pull for vintage Holland.

The little Dutch boy appears to be both relaxed and yet impatient about having to hold the pose for the unseen artist.  It is the universal conflict of young boys.  

Finally, look at the little dog.  He displays the honesty of the moment, dejectedly looking at the ground as if silently imploring his master to engage in more interesting fun and games.  One can't grasp the true essence of this brilliant masterpiece without considering the canine's body language.

But check me out--clumsily attempting to pass as an art connoisseur.

Long story short, I detached the cover and...wait a sec!  Looky here...on the flip side is another masterpiece.

Delivering the Mail
N. C. Wyeth, Artist
Inside Front Cover, WOMAN'S HOME COMPANION, August 1908
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Again, we have the nostalgic pull of the Pony Express and the mailbox made from a wooden Cream of Wheat crate.  

One has to wonder:  How long did that cowboy sit on that horse?

And, yes, don't forget...there's that reminiscent theme of an animal telling the true story with its accentuated sad and weary body language.

Captivated by these scenes, I did what any enterprising Hawaiian Odysseus would do.

I listed it on  

And, because I'm stupid, I plucked a random figure out of the air and affixed its value to something I truly believe is priceless.

In a nutshell, I'm having fun with this.

I never forget, you see, that just a few short weeks ago, I would animatedly balk at any invitation to frequent thrift stores and yard sales.

Nowadays, I'm the one asking my wife.

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